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Meet Shelley Williams

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelley Williams.

Hi Shelley, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My love for movement arts began with competitive gymnastics and dance as a teen, which led to professional dance performance, and then the world of academic study of movement arts and culture at UCLA within the World Arts and Cultures Department with an emphasis in Dance.

Many of my dance colleagues practiced Pilates and Yoga as a way to maintain balance in their body and mind and also rehabilitate injuries. As I began to experience the realities, rigors, and challenges of training, performance, and adult life in general, it felt like a natural path to lean into Yoga, especially, I worked and paid for college and living expenses myself, so was already experiencing “householder life” and questioning my mind while dealing with anxiety and uncertainty. What was I doing? Where was my life going? Did I even like who I was at the time or who my friends were? What was the point of everything? What is my path?

When I started practicing yoga, things started to make sense and feel “right” more often… as yoga is a science of the mind, I began to learn that many of us work with these universal questions but never learned the universal tools in which to deal with the “mind stuff.”

The word Yoga roughly translates to mean “connection” of mind/ body/ spirit via the power of our own primal life force. The lights started to go on for me. I learned that I could practice yoga while doing any and everything~ from waiting tables to surfing, to Pilates, to dance training, and in particular, to my relationships. It’s still a work in progress. This continues to be my main practice I embrace no matter what I’m doing.

Some special highlights along my path so far include becoming a mother of two amazing kids, owning The Pilates Room & Yoga Lounge in Hermosa Beach for eight years, writing/ directing Yoga Mittra Teacher Training School from 2011-present, working with high profile celebrity clientele in Hollywood, working one-to-one with a wide range of clients ranging from pregnant goddesses to training pro-athletes, and guiding local and international retreats.

My current project I’m most excited about is co-creating and co-guiding the Creative Wisdom Tools program with Rafael McMaster and local non-profit Indivisible Arts. This program is dedicated to guiding children through teens in learning accessible tools of consciousness, experiencing a variety of movement arts, learning creative and expressive arts, breath and meditation as essential tools to navigate life.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has not always been a smooth road, and the obstacles have been my greatest teachers. Multiple injuries, financial setback, and heart-breaking divorce after 10years of marriage have been extremely challenging and humbling.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’ve been fortunate to study many forms of movement arts….. vinyasa yoga, restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, gyrotonic expansion system, Pilates, as well as a variety of dance styles such as ballet, modern, West-African, Bharat Natyam, and Jujitsu agility training. I also love to travel and experience the music, food, flavors, and stories of other cultures.

I love weaving these experiences, flavors, and humor into yoga class experiences, consciousness discussions, meditation, and one on one experiences.

I love the challenge of figuring out the right mix of modalities to help someone feel great in their body, mind, and soul. I love connecting with people, and I believe I’m known for helping to guide folks into their own power sharing of healing while having fun in the process.

I adore working with different aged groups and figuring out how to meet them where they are and connect.

I’m also proud of the retreat experiences I provide for my guests. I love finding beautiful, remote, special places supercharged with the energy of nature and culture. I love to connect guests with the local folks of the community we are visiting and curating our activities in a way that educates guests about the local culture. Another integral part of the retreat experience is diving into deeper learning about the transformative effects of yoga, asking the questions to encourage self-reflection, and providing the space and time for people to drop into a potent, meaningful retreat. Our retreats offer all of this while eating phenomenal food, making new friends and great memories, and having fun!

The Creative Wisdom Tools program is the current project I’m most inspired by… as the emotional/ mental/ physical health of our youth needs more love and attention room than ever.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Lots of big shifts and changes! Especially with Covid~ there is so much more effort and emphasis to the online, digital learning component. I think this is a great way to connect with more people globally, yet also continues to present us with the challenge of screen addiction. I feel it’s more important than ever to continue to create experiences for real-time connection, eye contact, live conversation, and the natural human bonding processes of being, moving, or and singing together.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Shelley@yogamittra.com
  • Website: Yogamittra.com
  • Instagram: @Yogamittrashell
  • Facebook: Shelley Wilcox Williams


Image Credits:

Jessi Cederblom, Kaui Nichols, Robert Duron

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